Whatever can be natural, should be natural

Plant-Based Red for Clean-Label Vegan Analogs

5 September, 2017

Frutarom’s Natural Vegan Red

In response to the growing demands for vegan eating, Frutarom Natural Colors Business Unit launches Bright’n Free Red Rosy, a clean-label, all-natural red color range for plant-based meat analogs.

Today’s food manufacturers of vegan/vegetarian meat analogs strive to mimic not only the flavor and texture, but also the color of meat products. They add red color to get an exact “look and feel” of meat. The Bright’n Free Red Rosy line of red colors developed by Frutarom is plant-sourced, allergen-free and E-number free.  

“We help food manufacturers develop meat analog products by offering customized solutions of natural red coloring, enabling “free-from” and clean-label products that address a range of consumers who prefer to adopt healthier eating habits,” says Thierry Gay, Technical Sales Director of Frutarom Natural Colors Europe.

According to Innova Market Insights, the meat substitutes market has moved more strongly into vegan positioning, with nearly 60% of launches in 2016 carrying this type of claim. These products use a variety of non-meat ingredients, including soy, vegetables, algae, grains and pulses. The clean-label trend drives the use of plant sources for coloring food. Innova shows more than 22% growth in such colorants.

Vegan claims are increasing in foods and beverages, with the market penetration tripling from 2012 to 2016, with 14%+ CAGR in 2012-2016 meat alternatives, reports Innova. The “flexitarian” effect also is pushing vegan/vegetarian products, including meat substitutes and dairy alternatives that target mainstream consumers. Growth in flexitarianism reported last year was 69% in Germany, 53% in the UK, and 38% in the US for consumers who reported eating meatless meals at least once a week in 2016.

Frutarom’s Bright’n Free Red Rosy color line is specifically optimized for vegan/vegetarian meat analog applications. It is highly heat-stable and so uniquely suitable for items such as grilled, raw-cured, and par-cooked vegetarian sausages and other foods undergoing a long cooking process.

The new red color line is derived from simple, natural vegetable sources, allowing for transparent labeling. It is kosher-certified, and available in a palm-free form. There is no selective extraction; the ingredient is a simple concentration of squeezed plant juices rich in the natural antioxidant pigment anthocyanin.

“We identified a natural source of anthocyanin that is less pH-sensitive. It is important to regulate the pH of the meat or meat analogs at around 5.3, otherwise it turns bluish,” adds Gay. “The main challenge in coloring plant-based meat analogs is to find the right balance between heat-stability and maintaining the desired shade of color. Most existing natural solutions are based on red beet colors, which are not the typical red consumers expect in meat substitutes.”

“Frutarom’s capabilities and full technical support, together with comprehensive knowledge and close co-operation, help our customers create new products with the precise taste, health and functionality desired,” concludes Gay.